Tokyo Olympics: Masai Ujiri backs D’Tigers to excel

Former D’Tigers star and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri believes that Nigeria would make a great impact at the Tokyo Olympic Games billed for July.

Ujiri, who played for Nigeria at the AfroBasket ’97 in Senegal leading to Nigeria’s first World Championship appearance in Greece 1998 told that he is looking forward to cheering on his country’s basketball team in Japan.

He said, “I support the Nigerian national team. I’m happy Coach Brown is on that team, and Coach Alex (Nwora). I think they’re going to raise the level a little bit beyond the standard kind of tournament.

“I think with the right preparation, with the right organisation, I think Musa Kida – the (Nigerian basketball federation president) – hopefully, is beginning to put things together and understand the big picture. We have a lot of athletes playing in college basketball.

“When we start to understand these things a little bit better and prepare better, we will do better.”

Ujiri hopes, with Nigeria being able to call on an impressive – and growing – number of NBA players either from the country or of Nigerian descent, D’Tigers can make their mark.

“If we want to really take the dream team, you know – are we going to take (Victor) Oladipo? Are we going to take OG Anunoby? Is (Bam) Adebayo going to go?

“We’ve got the names, we have many tiers of guys that we can get. (Josh) Okogie…there’s so many.”

D’Tigers will on the 29th of July battle Australia in Group B at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo.

Alongside Australia, the number one ranked team in Africa currently on a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions will also play winners of the Olympics Qualifying Tournaments from Serbia and Belgrade between the 29th of June and 4th of July.

Following the completion of the group games, the top two teams in each group and the two best losers will qualify for the quarter-finals.